Jacked Up Sports
By Jack Reyering, For The Miami Student
In the past month three major professional sports leagues have hosted an all star game. Each event promises the season's best athletes from the respective sport under one roof.
On paper, it sounds thrilling. You'd assume it showcases the best of each sport - the greatest plays and most memorable moments.
In reality, it's a mockery of the professional game.
Throw everything you know about football, basketball and hockey out the window. The rules, fundamentals and game plans are non-existent.
Watch as the leagues tirelessly include celebrities as much as possible to make everything one big joke.
That's the modern All Star Game in the NBA and NHL and the NFL's Pro Bowl. There is just no point in watching anymore. The games mean nothing and the players treat it as such.
The Pro Bowl and NBA All Star Game in particular are the worst. Every year the format changes, and everything becomes more confusing and less true to the game.
NFL players don't even want to play in the game due to injury risks.
The game is scheduled for the end of the year, when all but two teams are done for the season. It doesn't make sense for the best players in one of the most violent team sports to face off against each other in a game that means absolutely nothing. When players withdraw themselves from the event due to injury concerns, you end up with a flag football game featuring players you've never heard of.
In the NBA, the players don't seem to care at all. Again, the game means absolutely nothing, but this time, it occurs in the middle of the season. Players are not going to risk injury just to put on a show for fans when there's still half a season left to play. This leads to final scores like 196-173.
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That's the kind of total score you would expect to see from two combined NBA games.
It's pointless to watch these games.
From a critical fan's perspective, I have to pose these questions to the NBA and NFL, because they are worth considering.
Why even have the All Star Game and Pro Bowl?
If the answer is "for the fans," the leagues must take a long, hard look at what these games have turned into and find an answer for my next question.
What do the fans want?
What they offer is not what I want.
While living in Cincinnati over the summer, I had the privilege of watching the MLB All Star Game in person. It's clear the MLB has its All Star Game down pat.
Like the other All Star Games, it's a compilation of all the best players from both leagues squaring off against each other. But there are a couple of key differences.
First, the game is unchanged. If you had no idea who any of the players were, the only difference you would notice about the game is the frequency of pitching changes. Other than that, it is played like every other game in the MLB season.
Second, the game means something to the players. With the pride each player has for his respective league and the potential for home field advantage in the World Series, the players go all out to win the game, just like they would in any regular season game with their real team.
Traditional baseball fans can all think back to a memorable play or moment in All Star Game history. There are tons of them.
What was the most memorable moment from the latest Pro Bowl?
Despite the fact this was Kobe Bryant's final All Star appearance, what was so special about this year's NBA All Star Game?
The NBA and NFL have to consider these things when it comes to their games. If it is truly about the fans, something must change. Make the games more valuable to fans.
If it's not about the fans, get rid of the games altogether. There really is no other viable solution.